When I received the package that Karen Doherty of Exaclair sent me in September, I liked everything in it except a black, plain notebook. :) It's a medium Clairefontaine Basics Clothbound notebook with black cloth binding and black cover, but had the purest whitest paper I've ever seen. Back then, I was craving orange Rhodia pads, orange Webbies and other colorful notebooks, so I kept the Clairefontaine Basics notebook for future use. While looking for a notebook from my stash sometime last week, I saw the Clairefontaine Basics once again, and though it may not have been love at first sight for me, the notebook held my attention the next time we met.
First of all, I searched for the notebook's name, and I'm happy to learn that it is called the Clairefontaine Basics Clothbound Notebook. I didn't know it then. Hm. Aptly named, huh? It measures 5.75 x 8 inches, is made in France, and the solid cardboard cover has texture like grainy leather. The purest whitest paper in the Basics notebook is pH-neutral and acid-free 90g Clairefontaine paper. Whoa.
This time around, I fell in love with the simplicity of this French-made notebook. There is nothing fancy, or elaborate on its cover except for the modestly placed Clairefontaine logo embossed on the lower right corner of the front cover.
The cloth binding in this black Basics notebook blends well with the color of the cardboard cover. Simple, neat, modest.
The Clairefontaine Basics notebook is clothbound and sewn using linen thread. Its pages open flat and that makes the Basics notebook easy to write on. There are just so many features to make one fall in love with this notebook: rounded corners, ruled, unmargined pages, and it doesn't have a dangling ribbon pagemarker. (I don't have anything against pagemarkers, they are just annoying at times.) The Clairefontaine paper used is chlorine-free and made only with pulp from trees harvested from certified sustainable forests. (Clairefontaine is the only European manufacturer that makes its own paper for its own products.)
The purest, whitest paper of this notebook is touted to be the best paper for fountain pen use. I know this is true, but I want to do a more demanding test on this notebook, so I used most of my wide nibbed pens. First, my calligraphy pens: Manuscript, Lamy, Osmiroid. The mediums followed: Haoililai, Wality, Lamy, Schneider. Then, I used most of my wet inks: J. Herbin, Camel, Waterman, De Atramentis. The results? See the photos below. :)
I did not see any feathering on the Clairefontaine paper...
... nor any bleed at all. What is seen here is the ink showing through the other side of the page.
Clairefontaine Basics Notebook is a neat notebook. Simple and elegant, yet, sturdy and durable. I like its simplicity, but mostly, I love it because it makes fountain pen writing possible, and a wonderful experience, too.
The Clairefontaine Basics Clothbound Notebooks are available in a variety of sizes and covers. See the selection at Exaclair's website, the 2010 catalog is presented as an interactive online publication, very much like browsing a printed catalog, which is another cool thing from Exaclair.